As previously discussed, Oregon law now allows residents to choose between using the Oregon exemptions or the federal exemptions when filing a bankruptcy. In most situations, the federal exemptions are significantly better than the Oregon exemptions. Only if a debtor owns a house with significant equity will the Oregon exemptions be better for the debtor than the federal exemptions. If you had to pick the single federal exemption that will help the most people, it’s likely the wildcard exemption. That’s especially true for people who either don’t own their own home or don’t have any equity in their home.
Exemptions are very important. One of the crucial considerations in bankruptcy is whether all of your assets are “exempt,” or protected by the law from your creditors. If all your assets are exempt, then you can keep everything that you own if you file a Chapter 7 “straight bankruptcy.” Whether your assets are exempt also affects how much you would pay to your creditors and how long you would do so if you file a Chapter 13 “adjustment of debts” case. This consideration can also greatly influence which of these two options are better for you.